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Normans and their Chronicler Dudo of St. Quentin

By agreement with the French king Charles the Simple, the Northman Rollo and his converted men were to defend the Seine and thereby Paris. They succeeded.

Some generations after Rollo, the dynasty in Normandy had the chronicler Dudo write its version of their history. Dudo tells it was duke Richard I of Normandy who commissioned him to write a history of the Normans. The commission was delivered two years before the death of Richard I in 996 or 1002. After Richard's death, other members of the Norman ducal house continued to patronise Dudo, hoping he would complete the task.

Dudo blossomed around AD 1000. Dudo is not considered to be an accurate and reliable historian, but he is the only one for some happenings. His mentions of places he had not visited and from times gone by are inaccurate.

Dudo is purportedly at his best when telling of his contemporary times in Normandy around the year 1000. His style reflects the conditions in Normandy then, and counterbalances some aristocratic, barbarous norms and customs at the back of the Norse (or Icelandic) writings. The other main source, Icelander sagas of Norwegian kings are from the 1200.

It is uncertain exactly when Dudo began to write his panegyric of the first three Norman dukes, Rollo, William Longsword, and Richard I, and still harder to decide when he finished. Most likely he wrote the history during the late 900s and/or early 1000s, while associated in many ways with the ruling family of ducal Normandy. It was from that circle William the Conqueror rode out one day to take over and rule Britain.

It is usually concluded that Dudo completed his Norman history late in 1015, after he got promoted to "decanus". We also find the title "capellanus" (chaplain) used by duke Richard II.

Dudo's history of Viking Normandy survives in several manuscripts that differ from one another in many ways. Most of them were copied during the eleventh or twelfth centuries, when Gesta Normannorum (Norman History) was at its peak of popularity - when Normans ruled in many countries with their "iron hands".

The tales that are retold on the following pages, are devised on top of a copy from the second half of the eleventh century, at Mont-St.-Michel - the monastery lies just off the coast of Normandy and Brittany. Many medieval texts can be quite misleading and confusing, due to errors and inconsistencies. These reservations apply to the original, often ambiguous Latin of Dudo too.


Tales from Dudo of St. Quentin's Norman History, Gesta Normannorum stories,  tales of descendants from Rollo, a Norman dynasty's tales, Dudo of Saint-Quentin stories, Dudon, Norman historian tales from Normandy Normandie, stories from a Medieval classic, Literature  

Barthelemy, Ch. 1862. Histoire de la Normandie ancienne et moderne. Tours: Mame.

Brown, Reginald Allen, 1985. The Normans and the Norman Conquest. 2nd ed. Woodbridge, UK: The Boydell Press.

Crossley-Holland, Kevin, reteller. 1993. The Penguin Book of Norse Myths: The Gods of the Vikings. Reprint ed. London: Penguin.

Crouch, David. The Normans: The History of a Dynasty. London: Hambledon Continuum, 2007.

Davies, Kerrith. 2015. Winning the West: The Creation of Lower Normandy, c. 889–c. 1087. Doctoral Thesis. Faculty of History, University of Oxford.

Dolley, Michael. Anglo-Norman Ireland 1100-1318. Dublin: Gill and MacMillan, 1972.

Dudone Sankti Quintini, decano. 1865. De moribus et actis primorum Normannić ducum. Nouvelle édition. Caen: Jules Lair.

Fergusson, Robert. 2010. The Hammer and the Cross: A New History of the Vikings. London: Penguin Books. ⍽▢⍽ Ferguson presents a continuous Viking story in 18 short chapters.

Freeman, Edward. The History of the Norman Conquest of England. London: University of Chicago, 1974.

Gibberd, Frederich. The Architecture of England from Norman Times to the Present Day. 4th ed. London: Architectural Press, 1962.

Graham-Campbell, James, and Dafydd Kidd. The Vikings. London: British Museum Publications, 1980.

Grant, Michael. Myths of the Greeks and Romans. New York: Meridian/Penguin, 1995.

Hødnebø, Finn, og Hallvard Magerøy, eds. Norges kongesagaer. Vols 1-4. Oslo: Gyldendal, 1979.

Kapelle, William. The Norman Conquest of the North: The Region and Its Transformation, 1000-1135. London: Croom Helm, 1979.

Lifshitz. Felice, tr. Dudo of St. Quentin's Gesta Normannorum: An English Translation. (History of the Normans). ORB Online Library (Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies), 1996. ⍽▢⍽ Dudo wrote this history to legitimise the Norman rule of Normandy. It tells how the a group of Vikings conquered parts of France, and eventually came to rule the area. The work is available in Latin and in English on the ORB of Medieval Studies. Parts of Lifshitz’s translation-in-progress are called rough still.

Loud, Graham A., and Alex Metcalfe, eds. The Society of Norman Italy. Leiden: Brill, 2002.

Marongiu, Antonio. Byzantine, Norman, Swabian and later Institutions in Southern Italy. Collected Studies. London: Variolum Reprints, 1972.

Matthew, Donald. The Norman Monasteries and Their English Possessions. London: Oxford University Press, 1963.

Renaud, Jean. Les Vikings et la Normandie. Rennes: Ouest-France, 1989.

Rowley, Trevor. The Norman Heritage: 1055-1200. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1983.

Simonnæs, Per. Normannerne kommer. Oslo: Grøndahl Dreyer, 1994.

Steenstrup, Johannes. Normannerne, bd 1. Copenhagen: Klein, 1876.

Theotokis, Georgios. 2010. The Campaigns of the Norman Dukes of Southern Italy against Byzantium, in the Years between 1071 and 1108 AD. . Doctoral thesis. Glasgow: Department of Philosopy, University of Glasgow.

Woodward, Ernest Llewellyn Woodward. A History of England. London: University Paperback / Methuen, 1965.

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